By Norman Kuhlke
December 19 1964
Though I'm as pleased as anyone to talk about the 'good old days,' I can honestly say that the past 12 months have been the happiest of my life. I know from chatting to members of other groups that they consider their early days to be the happiest. I don't feel that way at all. Though I have many happy memories of our early struggles, I enjoy playing now more than I ever did.
I know it may sound like one of the old 'show business' platitudes, but I do genuinely look forward to every session. Maybe that's because THE SWINGING BLUEJEANS have built a reputation for being the beat group that takes the 'off beat' jobs that I feel this way. No two jobs are the same.
During the past year we've had a ball (and been paid) for playing to some wonderful audiences all over Europe, and for performing such varied tasks as reading excerpts from Shakespeare at Furham University, playing at the finishing post of a big race meeting, and enjoying the fabulous 'Derby Dale' pie ceremony. Probably the most unusual engagement of all was when we teamed up for a session with the famous coloured entertainers, 'Les Ballets Africains.'
I think that this 'ballet' session was something that I'll always remember. We were staying at the same hotel as a couple of the musicians from the 'Ballet Africains' and they invited us along to play a few numbers with their company - just to see how the dancers reacted.
After playing a couple of numbers we were joined by the entire orchestra - most of them playing instruments that are rarely seen outside Africa.
The session really got going; all the instruments seemed to blend miraculously. The music certainly did affect the dancers, four red-faced Bluejeans had to carry on playing whilst the female dancers began throwing off clothes left, right and centre.
The finale was a drum beat duet, after which the members of the African orchestra lifted me shoulder-high on a
giraweebi - a giant native drum.
Though some of the incidents were photographed, I often wish that someone had recorded this music get-together - it's probably the new sound that everyone is listening for. Still, if that particular sound became popular it would present tremendous touring problems. Imagine trying to get 27 musicians into one small dressing room!